CHAMPIONSHIP | 20th December 2014 | ATT: 10014 | REF: Andy Madley (7/10)
Bournemouth 4-1 (pen)
Where are we in the league?
POINTS COUNTDOWN | PLAYED: 22 | WON: 12 | DRAWN: 6 | LOST: 4 | Points: 42
EDDIE HOWE MATCH REACTION
MATCH REPORT: The joy of six
24 games to go. How many more wins will we need to get promoted?
I’m still pinching myself, not because we scored six (we are getting used to that) but we are top of the Championship (that’s Division 2 in old money) going into the Christmas period. We are now one point clear of second, two points ahead of third place, four points ahead of 6th and 8 points clear of 7th. That’s effectively 3 games we don’t need to win to still be in the play-offs. Of course, we still want to win and Fulham at home and Millwall away are games where we should pick up points.
Back to the game and it was top versus bottom, which obviously meant that the team top of the league were going to win. It’s rarely always that easy and the notorious Bloomfield Road pitch did little to help the home side. In fact, it was the Cherries who profited from an uneven pitch. The visitors were in the ascendency but were struggling to find a way through. Ritchie picked up the ball on the edge of the area and a relatively tame shot bounced in front of the keeper and ended up in the back of the net.
With the Cherries in front and bossing possession it always looked like that there was more goals in the game. Of course there was, this is AFC Bournemouth and we have scored 50 goals already this season. But, the home side were still determined to get something out of the game. Determined they may have been, but they simply didn’t have enough. It was the Cherries who were determined to extend their lead and with half-time approaching. With Blackpool looking to usher the ball out of play (not very well) Charlie Daniels got his foot on the ball to send it across goal leaving Callum Wilson with a simple tap-in.
It was top versus bottom, which obviously meant that the team top of the league were going to win.
Two-nil away from home is a comfortable lead, but not an invincible lead as we all know. Imagine if we had held on against Millwall and Ipswich, we’d have an extra 4 points. So, the Cherries were on the front foot for the second half and its was Matt Ritchie who scored an absolutely gorgeous third. Once again outside the box, the Blackpool defenders never got close enough as Ritchie lined up a left-footer that he placed right into the top corner, surely game over.
Five minutes later Blackpool weren’t quite finished yet as Nathan Delfouneso tapped in for the hosts, a lucky goal of course. Was the comeback on? No, a minute later Wilson was tripped in the box and Brett Pitman tucked away the resultant penalty on the second time of asking. That’s 7 goals for Pitman. How many have been from the spot? Don’t know but every time he takes a penalty it reminds me of his spat with Max Gradel.
With 25 minutes to go was there to be more in the game for the Cherries? I don’t want to get too big-headed but of course there was. Who hadn’t scored yet? Steve Cook or Tommy Elphick? No, it was to be the midfield (that didn’t play against Liverpool), Marc Pugh and Harry Arter. Marc Pugh was on the far post ready to nod home. He did what every good goalscorer should do and headed the ball down into the ground and between the goalkeepers legs. Five goals, that’s not enough thought Harry Arter, no yellow card this week, as he shot home from the edge of the area to cap a convincing performance.
But as always we need steady Eddie to add some perspective and a touch of reality. “We just keep ticking along for the minute. This is uncharted territory for us as a club. Let’s just enjoy the moment”.
With memories of Kevin Bond and Jimmy Quinn forever etched in our memories we are taking Eddie’s advice and enjoying the moment, a lot. How many of us will be going to Charlton to see us lift the Championship trophy? We can dream.
TFTSE MAN OF THE MATCH